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Bravery of victims praised as their abuser is jailed for 17 years

Last modified: 12 March 2021 at 03:52pm

A 79-year-old York man has been jailed for 17 years for non-recent sexual abuse of children.

The sentence is made up of 11 years imprisonment (consecutive ) and a special custodial sentence of 7 years comprising a custodial term of 6 years and an extended licence period of 1 year .

John Anthony Whitehead known as Tony, of Kexby Avenue was sentenced at York Crown Court on Thursday 11 March 2021.

John Anthony Whitehead
John Anthony Whitehead

He was charged with 20 offences dating back to the 1980s and 90s including four charges of gross indecency with a boy under 14, 10 charges of indecent assault on a girl under 14, four charges of indecent assault on a boy, one charge of  gross indecency with a girl under 14, and one charge of inciting a girl under 14 to commit an act of gross indecency.

Whitehead initially pleaded not guilty and stood trial on 8 February, however, when presented with one victim’s testimony, he changed all of his pleas to guilty.

His four victims were aged between four and nine at the time of the abuse and have been praised for their bravery in coming forward.

Detective Inspector Jackie Smart, of York CID said: “The bravery of these victims cannot be overestimated, nor can the impact the abuse has had on their lives. They have stuck with what was a long and difficult investigation over the past three years to see Whitehead brought to justice. Nothing can take away the affect the abuse had on their lives and the distress it has caused them over the years. But I hope the sentence handed out to Whitehead brings some closure for them and that they can now put it behind them knowing that he is now behind bars for the terrible abuse he inflicted on them.

“The first victim to come forward did so after seeing a newspaper article about another jailed sex offender and a comment from North Yorkshire Police that it is never too late to report sexual abuse. That is absolutely the case, and I hope other victims of abuse who are reading this are reassured by this and that they do come forward and report what has happened to them.”

 

Reporting child abuse and seeking help

Please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 if you have been a victim of abuse.

If you are in immediate danger, always dial 999 for an emergency response.

Victims who would prefer not to go direct to the police and are not in immediate danger, can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)on 0330 223 0362, email bridgehouse.sarc@nhs.net or go to www.bridgehousesarc.org/

You can also contact the Supporting Victims Unit direct at www.supportingvictims.org or call 01609 643100.

NSPCC Helplines:
• Help for adults concerned about a child – call 0808 800 5000
• Help for children and young people – call Childline on 0800 1111
• Go to www.nspcc.org.uk

 

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